Nu? What's New?
The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy From Avotaynu

Gary Mokotoff, Editor

Volume 21, Number 34 | August 23, 2020

Every government puts value on preserving its history. That is why we have national archives. Genealogy preserves history; the history of a family. It cannot be done without access to records, just as historians cannot preserve a nation's history without access to records. It is a greater good than the right to privacy. It is a greater good than the risk of identity theft.

Past issues of Nu? What's New? are archived at
Underlined words are links to sites with additional information.

Ancestry Has U.S. School Yearbooks, 1900–1999
Ancestry’s U.S. Yearbook collection has grown to include more than 450,000 yearbooks containing 700 m-illion records. It can be searched at To the right are the high school photographs of Avotaynu owners, Sallyann Amdur Sack-Pikus and Gary Mokotoff taken from the Ancestry collection..

Search for free at

Alphabet Soup (What is the Difference Between IAJGS/JGS/JG/SIG/ and RD?)
Nolan Altman of JGSLI has posted to YouTube a five-minute lecture explaining some of the institutional abbreviations used in Jewish genealogical research. Altman also includes a description of the purpose of the group behind the abbreviation.

The lecture can be viewed at JGSLI is the abbreviation for Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island.

European Day of Jewish Culture Scheduled for September 6
Fifteen European countries will participate in this year’s European Day of Jewish Culture scheduled for September 6. Last year 28 countries participated.

According to Wikipedia the aim of this day is to organize activities related to Jewish culture and expose them to the public, with the intention that it would reveal the cultural and historical heritage of the Jewish people. The activities are coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture (AEPJ), the European Council of Jewish Communities, B’nai B’rith Europe and the Network of Jewish Quarters in Spain.

Additional information can be found at European_Day_of_Jewish_Culture. To read what events will occur in a specific country, go to and select a country from the dropdown menu.

TheGenealogist Releases Edinburgh and England/Wales Poll Books
TheGenealogist has just released more than 260,000 records into its ever-growing Poll Book Record Collection. This useful resource for family historians can be used to find the address of an ancestor’s residence from the period before and after the census records. The newly released poll books range from 1747 to 1930 and join records that also cover periods between the census years.

In addition to Edinburgh, Scotland, the records include 36 different registers of people who were entitled to vote in the constituencies of Bath, Devon, Hampshire, Hertford, Kent, Lincolnshire, London, Monmouthshire, Northumberland, Rutland, Scotland, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk and Surrey.
The announcement by ScottishGENES can be found at TheGenealogist is located at

Baghdadi Consolidated Jewish Surnames Index (1874–2001)
Avotaynu Online has published a list of 733 Jewish surnames that existed in Baghdad, Iraq, gleaned from sources for the years 1874–2001. The community, which numbered some 77,000 members in 1947, declined by more than 90% in only four years due to mass emigration, mainly to Israel. Emigration continued during the following decades with a peak in the early 1970s. Today only a handful of Jews remain in Baghdad.

The list can be found at

Chabad Compiling List of Jewish Lives Lost to the Coronavirus
Susan Urban reports that Chabad is compiling a list of Jewish lives lost to the coronavirus. It is located at Those names that are underscored are links to biographical information about the individual. A photo is also included.

FamilySearch Adds 8M Records This Week
A list of recent additions to FamilySearch, 8M index records and images, can be found at This site provides direct links to the individual collections. They include records from Australia, England, France, Luxembourg, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, Spain and the U.S. states of Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas.

Included is a marriage index for Hawaii (1909–1989). It includes the marriage of President Barack Obama’s parents.

Note that at the website, announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. Also note that counts shown in the announcement are the number added, not the total number available in the collection, which can be greater.

New Collections at
Ancestry has added the following record groups at their site. The list with links to individual collections can be found at Announced collections may not be complete for the dates specified and will be added at some later date. There is also no indication of how many records were added to the updated collections.

New Collections
Georgia, Fulton County Cemetery Records, 1857–1933
Maryland State Archives, Index to Deaths and Burials, 1697–1800

Do You Subscribe to AVOTAYNU?
Each year AVOTAYNU publishes more than 300 pages of useful, interesting information about Jewish family history research that can help you in your research. Now in its 36th year, an index to the first 24 volumes is available to all the major articles.

Published quarterly, our contributing editors from 15 countries throughout the world regularly gather important information that appears in our issues. Our publishers, Gary Mokotoff and Sallyann Amdur Sack, are on a first name basis with officials at institutions containing genealogical data throughout the world. 
Some institutions are U.S. National Archives, U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Leo Baeck Institute,  Yad Vashem and  Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People.

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